Carnival LineParadise ReviewBaja MexicoBill K.
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Paradise
Sailing Date: August 6th, 2007
Itinerary: NOT FOUND
Carnival Cruise Line
Paradise Cruise Review
OK, if you have kids, here's the deal. The entire Carnival Paradise staff gets an A+ for effort, they are enthusiastic, friendly and helpful to most everyone aboard. But the onboard experience is going to differ depending on your age, and we have two kids (5,6) cruising with us. We found Camp Carnival was certainly available, but our kids described it as BORING. When you send your kid to a "snow cone party", and 10 minutes later observe them with a water glass, a Slurpee straw, and staring at a TV set with 4 other kids doing the same, I have to side with my kids on this one. Also, staff was unable to bend the rules and allow my 5 yr old to play in the same group with our 6 yr old, and insisted on splitting them up, we decided it was better to supervise our kids. That said, there's miniature golf on the upper deck, a small salt water swimming pool, and nice water slide but you better be 48" inches tall or forget about the slide (tell your kids ahead of time about this or face a serious disappointment.)
Check in was easy. It's worth it to get VIP check in, as the line is shorter. Debarkation is easy, don't believe it if people say you must wait in long lines in the hallway. Just get up by 7am and carry your own bags, and it's a snap. You're off the ship in 10 minutes.
The muster station drill was as expected. Wear your lifejacket which is stowed in your stateroom's closet, go to your designated area, bar, deck, etc. and wait for instructions. Kids 6 and under wear wristbands with their muster station letter for the entire duration of the cruise, a good safety practice.
We had an ocean view / suite stateroom with a balcony on the "upper" deck. It's actually deck 6 out of 12, so don't be misled by the words given to the deck names. There are a few main stairwell areas dividing the ship roughly in thirds, it took us a day and half to recognize where we were at any given moment. The elevator / stairwell areas could be more clearly marked but you won't get lost, staff people were everywhere.
Stateroom was cleaned twice a day it seems. Stewards know when you are scheduled for dinner, and that's when they clean, plus whenever you hang your door sign they will clean, put in fresh towels. Bathroom is roomy enough, it's not the Ritz Carlton, but they're decent, and the hot water was instant thanks to a good heat pump I imagine. You do hear people walking down the hall, OK you hear them running more so, but hey this is an ocean liner and a bargain priced vacation at that.
The Cruise Director addresses the ship by P.A. system continually, and our director (Karl with a K) was very enthusiastic, and tried to keep everyone focused on having fun. Also gave a great 45 minute meeting about debarkation procedures and getting through customs.
Buffet food was not that great, but you can also eat at the dining room (s) which is slightly better. Our waiters were great, and they will change your order in a minute if you're not content. Pizza is available 24/7 on the Lido deck 10, and please know that's where the ice cream soft serve machines are located which you will want to remember if you have kids. You will not be able to forget this either, if you have kids. Healthy stuff is available if you look for it, veggie dishes, it's not all about being fat, gorging, American tourists trying to eat 8 meals a day. And there's the gym on deck 12, and the jogging track above that.
The shows in the evening are fun, not spectacular but worth seeing. The comedian the first night (Seth Buchwald) was one of the funniest I've ever heard. It must be very hard to find the middle ground in entertainment, and Carnival did well enough.
On Catalina, I suggest booking your activity on the dock, and not with the ship. Do the snorkeling at Lover's Cove, if visibility is good, or at least take the glass bottom boat tour.
Ensenada is seedy and the rule here is caveat emptor. Buy something if you like it, but there's few real bargains.
We did not go to the bars, and casino time was very limited for us. But it's not a casino where you will win big bucks. If you want to gamble, go to Vegas.
I would not want to do this cruise again, but I might try another with some better ports to visit. I still give Carnival an A+ for effort, because a cruise experience is not an easy thing to make happen for 2600 people simultaneously, but they do it pretty well.